In this research note, we further Alistair R. Anderson's argument that an atomized view of entrepreneurship as an economic function provides limited understanding of what it is to actually do entrepreneurship. We take the stance that entrepreneurship, as a process, is born of social context. What it is to be and what it is to do entrepreneurship is informed directly by the images of entrepreneurship accepted in society. To better understand the implications of this, we access the ways in which entrepreneurship is imagined in three ostensibly similar country settings: UK, Italy and Finland. We analyse the social discourses surrounding the concept from a sample of enterprise students across the three areas. Importantly, these participants are not entrepreneurs in their own right, but are considered interested stakeholders, in that the meaning they ascribe to entrepreneurship will partly inform their future approaches to it. We contrast data from 15 semi-structured interviews with policy commentary and measurable outcomes and find nuanced differences in how entrepreneurship is perceived and enacted. The implications of our findings encourage a more holistic approach to the study of entrepreneurship, avoiding the self-affirming dogma of the purely economic or purely constructionist.
CUNNINGHAM, J. and FRASER, S.S. 2022. Images of entrepreneurship: divergent national constructions of what it is to 'do' entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and regional development [online], 34(7-8): special issue in memory of Professor Alistair Anderson 'Social perspectives of entrepreneuring, pages 576-581. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/08985626.2022.2071997